In which Miles Raymer tells
the story of The Mound.
BY MILES RAYMER
I’ve always been one of those people who for whatever reason
loves watching fucked up shit. Scenes of stomach-churning violence towards the
human body both staged and actual. Pornography centered around fetishes so
obscure that it’s hard to believe they exist even as you’re seeing them
performed. Japanese movies that combine both of the above. Compilations that
combine all of the previous elements, along with things like senior citizen
jazzercise videos and clips of James Brown on talk shows high out of his mind
on angel dust, all diced up and edited together in a way that reminds you both
of MTV reality shows and the film they showed Alex at the end of A Clockwork Orange.
Usually you know what you’re getting into with these types
of things. They come in a case marked “BANNED IN 32 COUNTRIES” or in the case
of stuff so far underground you can’t buy copies of it – say, the on-camera suicide-by-gun
of former Pennsylvania
state treasurer Budd Dwyer – with a verbal warning from whoever’s showing it to
you that it is in fact some deeply fucked up shit. The most fucked up video
I’ve ever owned came with neither.
It came from my friend Aaron, who got it from some guys we
both know back in Detroit.
I first saw it at a party at my friend Aaron’s house when he waved me over to
his laptop with a stupid grin on his face and told me he had something I had to
The story is that the guys we know back in Detroit played in a band and like a lot of
guys in bands when they weren’t touring they used their van to run a part time
moving business. They were hired by this man whose brother had recently passed
away to clean out his late brother’s house. From the way I was told it the man
didn’t want to anything from the house, or even to know what was in there, and
just wanted these guys to remove everything from the house and dispose of it. I
was also led to believe that the man seemed complexly sad in the way that
people are when they lose a loved one with major troubles, where there’s more
than a little relief mixed present alongside their grief and they obviously
feel guilty and terrible about it.
When the guys got to the brother’s house it was apparent
why. The brother had held a job at a Detroit
auto plant for a long time back when a strong industry and strong unions made Detroit auto workers some of the best-paid people in the
state of Michigan,
and probably the best-paid blue collar workers in the country. He also had
something out of whack deep inside his brain, and so had used his hefty salary
to buy a split-level house in a suburb just outside the city and fill it floor
to ceiling with women’s clothing.
Our friends’ job turned out to consist almost entirely of
loading up vanful after vanful of women’s clothing and hauling it away for
disposal. Typically for someone with a native Michigander’s fashion sense it
was all tacky stuff sourced largely from the ladies’ section of J.C. Penney.
Apparently a lot of the pieces still had their sales tags attached.
During the course of cleaning out the house our friends
discovered a video cassette. This is where the footage on a DVD-R on a spindle on a shelf underneath my TV came
The video opens with a man standing in front of a mirror
dressed in white high heels, black pantyhose, a white corset, and white
panties, which he’s pulling his erect penis from. Penis freed, he sits down on
a chair and masturbates. The scene may have been considered freaky in the
Eisenhower years, but if you’ve spent any time on the Internet at all you’ve
probably seen video of a masturbating man in fancy lingerie without even
The weirdness becomes pronounced at the beginning of the
next scene. The man is wearing a outfit based around a gold bodysuit, and has
added a wig to his ensemble. If you’re a Kids in the Hall fan, he’s about on
the level of the Sizzler Sisters in terms of believability as a woman. The
weirdness creeps in as you realize that the mirror, where he can watch himself
masturbate while dressed as a woman, is an essential part of his kink, and when
you notice that there are piles – huge, avalanching piles – of women’s clothing
covering most of the room’s horizontal surfaces. It becomes acute when he
starts getting really worked up.
Having reached some sufficiently aroused state the man sits
down on a chair next to one of the clothes piles, reaches over, and starts
frantically grabbing armfuls of clothes and building a new pile on his lap.
When it’s as big around as his arms can reach and tall enough that it threatens
to tip over he begins to fuck the mound of clothes.
As he has his way with the pile the man continues to add
more to it. He accumulates a drift of high heels on his chest while breathlessly
repeating the word “shoes,” then heaps even more clothes upon himself until the
mound is taller than he is, and from where the video camera’s positioned his
face is almost entirely obscured. After a few minutes he comes to a grunting
climax and then pushes the assemblage off his lap.
The guy having sex with an enormous pile of clothing is only
partly responsible for the video’s fucked-upness, and the fact that it’s
women’s clothing barely factors in at all. What’s unsettling is the complete
abandon with which he acts on his fetish, the desperate abandon with which he
piles clothing upon himself. Here is a man so in thrall to his own desires that
he’s lost a sizable chunk of his humanity, who’s so devoted to his own
masturbatory fetish that he’s alienated family and presumably friends and has
by all available evidence made it the centerpiece of his whole existence. The
ecstatic, dead-eyed look on his face while he goes at it is beyond words, but
once you’ve seen it it’s hard to shake.
And then there’s the fact that he’s videotaping his
masturbation ritual at all. If you stop to think about it at all the only
possible purpose for the video documentation that makes any sense is that he
would jerk off to them. Imagining a man masturbating to videos of himself
masturbating while watching himself in a mirror is enough to make you dizzy.
It’s an ourobouros of warped desire, something like the visual feed that
happens when you point a video camera at the TV it’s plugged into, except with
an infinite loop of boner stroking. Trying to follow the man’s train of thought
will give you serious vertigo.
Before my brain had even recovered from being blown to bits
by my first viewing of the video I had already asked Aaron to make me a copy.
Before he turned the DVD over to me he made me swear I wouldn’t put it on the
Internet, which was of course exactly what I wanted to do with it. Apparently
the guilt over taking the tape from the man’s house, and the possibility of it
getting back to his poor, already-guilty-feeling brother who hired them was too
great for our friends. Discovering evidence of a new flavor of human sexual
deviance is for most of us a once in a lifetime situation at best, and to have
to give your word to not spread it around on the Internet – human sexual
deviance’s natural habitat – was like discovering evidence of alien life and
being told by the government that it was top secret.
Despite the temptation I’ve stood by my word. I’ve never
even ripped the DVD-R labeled “Mounding” onto my hard drive. But occasionally
when someone comes over to my apartment, especially when they’re intoxicated
and therefore more psychically vulnerable than normal, I’ll find it on the
spindle it shares with other, less thoroughly fucked up DVDs. I tell them that
I have something that they have to check out. And I never let them know how
fucked up it’s going to be.
self-titled album is out now on Addenda Records. Visit the band at their
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/mannequinmen
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